fear of pain keeping you from loveHave you seen the movie The Giver? I read the book with my kids when they were in 6th grade which was eons ago, so I vaguely remembered the basic storyline. I figured any movie starring Meryl Streep must be worth the price of entry, so I went with a good friend.

If you haven’t seen it or you read the book a while ago and need a refresher, “The Giver” is about a utopian land where people are raised to have uncomplicated lives. To achieve this, they are brainwashed and conditioned, raised in a world with no true emotions. When they are adolescents, they receive daily injections to erase any memory of pain or pleasure, and they live in a black and white world of sameness. Everyone is fairly equal, and big brother is watching over them at all times in all places – in public and in the privacy of your own home.

The premise is that if you protect people from extreme pain (and pleasure), the world will be a better and safer place. “The Giver” is the only person who still feels emotions. His job is to give the memory of emotions – good and bad – to a Receiver. Without spoiling it for anyone who wants to see the movie, I will simply say that it made me think a lot about dating. Specifically, it made me think about the harm in guarding your heart in dating, and why that safety shield around your heart keeps you from fully experiencing love.

Without pain there is no true love

In my TEDx talk, I spoke about the “tootsie pop” layers that used to surround my heart. I thought they’d kept me safe from pain. I developed those guards because of heartbreak and failed relationships. I learned the wrong lessons; when you get hurt, it’s best to stay safe and guard your heart. That way, you won’t get hurt again. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

The fear of getting hurt again was the main reason I married “safe”, a decision that turned out to be far from the safe loving relationship I yearned for. Guarding my heart kept me from fully experiencing the joy of a loving partnership, from choosing the man with whom I’d experience the full gamut of emotions; the ups, the downs, the pain and the absolute joy of true love.

Guarding your heart keeps you from opening to love

The main reason why people shut down their heart and play it safe in love is FEAR.

What fears made you play it safe, choose the wrong partners, or stay too long in a relationship that didn’t work?

  • Were you afraid the partner you were seeking didn’t exist?
  • Were you afraid you weren’t pretty, thin, young, smart enough to attract the mate you desired?
  • Were you afraid you’d be alone the rest of your life?

Fear and love tug at each other. You must conquer your fear of getting hurt, of baring your soul, and be willing to feel a little (or a lot) uncomfortable in order to find true love. Love involves taking risks. It means you have to be willing to get vulnerable, to share the deeper parts of yourself with another. It means sharing the good and the bad, the imperfect and the beautiful unique gifts that you bring to a relationship.

Only then can you fully experience the joy that love brings.

The road to that love begins with self-love and self-knowledge. It begins with knowing your value and your relationship standards. It’s about having clarity on how you want others to treat you. It’s the first step I take my private clients through. They build the inner strength necessary to soften on the outside.

When you’re strong on the inside, you can let your guards down.

How do you guard your heart from pain? Please share your thoughts. I thank you in advance for having the courage to share your vulnerable beautiful self.



Did you know I’m coming to Boston September 28th from 1-5 PM for an Online Dating Workshop? I’d love to meet you in person. So, if you’re online but your inbox is empty, or you are too stuck or afraid to even jump in… spend a few hours with me and Peggy and Richard Wolman, dating coaches and matchmakers at Peggy Wolman Matchmaking, and we’ll show you how to use online dating sites to attract smart, active, interesting men who are hoping to meet a woman just like YOU. Join us for a live workshop: Find Love Online: A Workshop Exclusively for Women 50+. This is THE online dating workshop for women who are serious about finding love! Find out more here. Hurry, space is limited to only 25 and we’re filling up fast. Hope to see you there!

Click here for a copy of Sandy’s FREE report“The Top Three Mistakes Midlife Daters Make (and how to turn them around to find love now)”.

“Like” Last First Date’s Facebook page for inspiring posts on dating and relationships & links to Sandy’s weekly radio show on healthy dating and relationships in midlife.


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